The Hills of Adonis

Colin Thubron

The Hills of Adonis is not only a masterfully-written travel book but also a personal quest for meaning by the author.

Ostensibly this is a book about Lebanon, finely written and deeply felt — not the Lebanon that a Beirut businessman would recognize, but a coastline of small historic ports and a littoral of beautiful mountains. In this country, the ruins of Phoenician, Greek and Roman are among the most impressive in the world. Crusader castles and Arab palaces stand together in the hills, and the people are a unique medley of races and religions.

For five hundred miles the author walked through the mountains, following tracks and rivers. His journey was not only a survey of a remarkable country, but a quest for the divinities of the region — Astarte and Adonis, who held the secrets of death and rebirth in the ancient cults of Lebanon. He visited almost every place of cultural importance, and lived with the people along his way, recording strange remnants left over from the religion of Baalim and high places.

The Hills of Adonis is both a travel book and a personal journal; a quest for meaning, a reflection on faith and reason and a poem on the joy and complexity of living.

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